Posted by on December 1, 2016

According to a recent survey of farmers in Australia, many are very concerned about climate change. They feel that their agricultural representatives and politicians should be doing more about it.

The organization known as Farmers for Climate Action conducted the survey, which encompassed several states. Over 1300 primary producers, representing varied industries responded.

Fully 80 percent of respondents said that politicians should do much more to address climate change. They felt that there should be much more investment in research, as well as the development of extension programs focused on helping farmers adapt as the climate becomes hotter and more unpredictable.

The farmers felt that their agriculture sector reps should do a lot more to advocate for strong action in dealing with climate change.

Peter Holding is a farmer from Harden, located on the NSW southwest slopes. He has advocated for climate science for a very long time. Holding says that it is very clear that farmers desire strong political leadership on this very important issue.

Concerns About Climate Change Are Many And Varied

Many farmers are unsure about the term “climate change”, according to this survey.

Survey results indicated that around 60% of the respondents agree that climate change exists. Many more said that they are concerned about the changes they have noticed on their own land. Even so, these farmers were unsure that these problems were caused by climate change.

Mr. Holding noted that the results of the survey may have been affected by some elements of self-selection in that those who took the survey did so voluntarily. He pointed out that this did not mean that all were in agreement, however. Fully 40% said that they didn’t “believe in” climate change.

Changing Attitudes Among Farmers

Christie Kingston is a grain and merino farmer in West Australia. She says that the survey results came as no surprise to her because the effects of climate change are quite obvious in the Goomalling wheat belt district where her farm is located.

Kingston says that prior to the changes, her father-in-law was able to run double the number of sheep he now can on half the amount of land.

She says that the amount of rain the area receives has dropped by 19% in the winter months since the 1970s.

She also states that fire conditions are much worse now and that community emergency service workers say that the fire season is much longer than in the past. In fact, in Goomalling the fire season is so challenging that fighting fires takes up time that people need to take care of their crops, so even if the fires do not cause direct damage they have a very negative impact. The people are exhausted from living around and fighting against wildfires.

Mr. Holding concurred that this is a common phenomenon among modern Australian farmers.

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